COVID-19: 3 preschool staff test positive; affected schools identified

Children attending PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots preschool here are seen praticising safe distancing on 30 March, 2020. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Three preschool staff have tested positive for COVID-19 during an ongoing mass swab test exercise conducted in conjunction with the reopening of preschools on 2 June, said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Thursday (21 May).

The agency said that about 10,400 preschool staff have tested negative thus far in tests that started on 15 May. All 30,000-odd preschool staff and early intervention staff are expected to complete testing by end-May.

The statement comes shortly after the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a preliminary 448 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Thursday, bringing the total to 29,812.

The three female preschool staff, all classified as local unlinked cases, were among 13 new cases who are Singaporeans. The MOH later in a separate release identified them: a 40-year-old who went to work at My First Skool @ 303 Canberra, a 58-year-old who went to work at PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots Preschool @ Gambas and a 34-year-old who works at an unidentified preschool but did not go to work after developing symptoms.

As a precautionary measure, the ECDA has also directed that a 14-day leave of absence be issued for the small group of children and staff who were recently present with the confirmed cases in the preschools.

Contact tracing by the MOH is ongoing and close contacts will be placed on quarantine order by the ministry, added the agency.

“The preschools are closed for two days for thorough cleaning and disinfection of the preschool premises and may resume services for children and staff who are not on leave of absence,” said the ECDA.

The preschools will also be required to adhere to enhanced safe management measures put out on 19 May, the agency added.

“The tests for the remaining preschool staff are ongoing. The ECDA is monitoring the situation closely, and will work with the management, staff, parents, and children at the preschools to ensure the safety and well-being of all,” said the agency.

As part of a phased re-opening of Singapore following the end of the circuit break period on 1 June, preschool children will return in cohorts. K1 and K2 children will return on 2 June, while Nursery 1 and Nursery 2 children can return on 8 June and infant-care and playgroup children can return from 10 June.

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